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When in a courtroom the attorneys do all the talking and the parents rarely get a chance to say anything.  The court process is an eye opener and learning experience for many individual.  The adversarial system has created a system of winning and losing. At Southeastern Minnesota Family Support Center, Inc. we try to get away from the win-lose with a WIN – WIN scenario.  ENE aims to position the parties for resolution by negotiated settlement. The two parents may have some issues but that does not mean the parent and child have issues. The ENE process is often much faster, allowing the parents to move on with their lives sooner.  

Time Money
ENE benefits everyone involved . . .

  • Offer is a win-win-win.
  • The courts – with fewer resources needed in family court, fewer appeals and post judgment motions to modify decrees and reduced need for full custody evaluations and trials.
  • The parties -  reduced cost, less time, less turmoil, more control of their family case
  • The lawyers - A more rewarding, productive practice model.
  • Is a case-management tool
  • Confidential
  • Expedites judicial case management and moving the family through the court process
  • Saves time, money and alleviates high conflict
  • Allows parents to maintain some control over their situation.
  • Provides parents with yet another alternative to traditional litigation
  • Offers new and more persuasive settlement options 

The courts in many counties have adopted Early Neutral Evaluation as an option for parents looking for a potentially less expensive, less stressful private way to resolve their parenting time and custody disputes. The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process, offers many methods for resolving conflicts. Some mirror traditional court processes rather closely and some are quite different, but each offers its own alternative path.

Big Eyes Decisions about children are extremely personal, private and emotional, and not every couple is able to negotiate without emotions getting in the way. Many parents are surprised when they enter into the ENE process with tension between them and walked out satisfied with an agreement on custody and parenting time.

Beyond a simple grouping of approaches, ADR also is conceived of as an idea, a philosophy. For many proponents of ADR, using different approaches to conflict resolution has a meaning or a larger goal. Many prize the potential for results of ADR processes that go beyond what a court can order. There are others who see it as a way to improve the equality of parties in dispute. Yet others value the potential economies of ADR processes for courts, parties and society.

Some forms of ADR, such as early neutral evaluation, are intended to put decision-making power into the hands of the parties. Because of this, ENE has been found to be extremely beneficial family court cases involving contested custody and parenting time. The commonality is that through these processes, the dispute is taken out of the litigation forum and into another where the role is to in some way bring the parties to - or closer to - settlement.

The evaluative expertise and facilitative flexibility provided by the evaluators sets ENE apart from other ADR methods. By early intervention with an ENE session, parties come to grips with the facts and the merits of their case much earlier than normal. ENE directly promotes the speedy and efficient resolution of cases. It is precisely because of the early intervention that the parties can devise efficient rational settlement options.

Happy Kids

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